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Gio’s statement game

Aug 9, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Gio Gonzalez rounds the bases after hitting his first career home run.

Davey Johnson asked a lot of Gio Gonzalez last night in Houston. Throw at least seven innings to give an exhausted bullpen a break. No, wait, make that a complete game. On 117 pitches, two shy of your career-high. With the tying run on third and the winning run on second during the bottom of the ninth.

Oh, and while you're at it, would you mind clubbing your first career home run as well?

If it sounds like too much to ask of one player in one night, it probably was. Sometimes, though, it takes a brilliant (and gutsy) individual performance to carry a ballclub on his shoulders to a victory that wouldn't have been possible without him.

And in that regard, Gonzalez really showed the Nationals something during yet another tense win over the hapless Astros, this time by aRead more »

131 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    Absolutely on point, Mark! Gio was great.

  2. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    It should not have come down to that 9th inning. The Nats' offense has got to step it up. The big hit in the game was Gio's HR.The winning run last night scored on another Stros' throwing error, the 2nd time this series that the Nats scored the winning run on the other guy's miscue.The D-Backs and Giants are not likely to present the Nats with any gift wins.Angel Hernandez is not a major league umpire. His expansion of the strike zone to the outside AND to below the knees, for Harper, was unworthy of the game.But the Nats won, anyway. Destiny. Why fight it?

  3. Will - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    On another note, regarding Harper, he was right to be angry about Angel Hernandez's calls.Here's the pitch locations during his 4th inning strikeout. You can see the called 3rd strike was noticeably outside the strikezone.Here's Harper's 6th inning strikeout. The final two called strikes were close, but nevertheless mistakenly called strikes.Here's all the pitches from Galarraga last night. You can see Hernandez's zone was extended about 20-30% outside. It was similar for reliever Fick.At least Hernandez was consistent, but it doesn't absolve him from consistently making the wrong calls.That consistency didn't seem to extend to Gio, however.

  4. JayB - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    Angle and Joe West are both crew chiefs as I recall…..that tells me that as much as I love this game…..It still has major structural problems that are being ignored by the Commissioner…who is a joke himself….so ownerships are ignoring problems in the game. They very well could explode on them in big games this fall. It is like public education years ago…..just ignore bad teachers….they have earned the right to suck.

  5. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Will — This shows a couple of things: (1) Harper might have the best batting eye on the team. He knows where the strike zone is even if Hernandez doesn't (and doesn't give a hairy you-know-what; the guy is unbelievable); (2) Harper has been told that he's been expanding the strike zone to get at all of that outside slop pitchers are feeding him, so he is in a conumdrum — swing only at strikes or be the victim of Hernandez's "welcome to the big time, little boy" sadism.

  6. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Actually, FP's story about Bruce Froemming chasing him into the outfield was kinda chilling. The league really doesn't have any control over these bozos.

  7. TimDz - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Does anyone else find themselves going back to the standings several times a day and just smiling?

  8. sjm308 - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    TimDZ – Yes! and I am also drawn to the % possibility of playoffs that espn carries on the far right. Some of these sites have us as high as 95%! I realize the Cards came from 9 back in the last month and that is still there in the back of my mind, but with this pitching staff I honestly have a hard time seeing a long losing streak. We have won some games lately were we probably did not play as well as we could and we will lose some games that we play really well. That is baseball. What impresses me is we have not had that long losing streak. Davey is able to maneuver around those land mines and keep this team headed to the playoffs.Go Nats!!

  9. natsfan1a - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Yay, a happy game results email. Saw a bit of the game last night, including the Harper at-bats and interactions with Hernandez. btw, LaRoche had some interesting comments as reported by Comak. I thought Adam walked the line perfectly there. Love you, you wily old veteran, you. ;-)Missed Gio's dinger (except on the replay). Went to bed at 10 or so. Will definitely want to watch that recording. Atta way with the complete game and saving the 'pen. I love you, too. Ah, what the heck. I love all my Nats. :-)

  10. natsfan1a - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    Standings, you ask? Well, I do happen to have this page bookmarked. Also on an ESPN note, although he's already been awarded the top web gem, the vote still seems to be open, in case you want to vote for the Shark, increase the lead even more, and – oh, yeah – irritate some ESPN talking heads. All in a day's work for me. :-)

  11. MicheleS - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    Anybody else waking up with a grin on their face? I just love that Gio did the complete game, no bullpen used, and he HIT a dinger. How great is that.I can't take these late nights though. I am usually done by 10 and have to pack up everything. Next week in SF will have to be replay only.

  12. natsfan1a - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    I had a grin when I read about it this morning, if that counts. :-) I'm not generally good for beyond 10 PM or so. Maybe on a weekend night once in a while.On a web gem note, there's supposed to be a new poll, A. Ramirez vs. Bernadina, but I couldn't find it. Maybe it will be up later.

  13. sjm308 - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    MichelleS – have to agree on the late nights and we have another week!! Was wondering why are get away game is being played late as they usually let the visiting team get to its next city at a decent hour? I also checked and the D'Backs actually have a worse situation. They start in Pittsburgh at 4 and have to basically fly across the country. Not saying we will be in Arizona before they will but I am asking the baseball gods to provide an extra inning game in the Steel City while JZimmnn mows down the Astro's in a nice neat 5 hitter with 0 walks.Go Nats!!!

  14. pRAA - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    I sure wish someone would tell Davey how to pronounce Stammen's name.Maybe Ray-mos can do that when he comes back off the DL. Or someone could send him a message on the Tweeter.

  15. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Laddie made some good points. I'm hoping this is a case of the Nats stooping down to the level of their competition.The offense has been awful when you consider there were only 2 RBIs in the game and they both came from the pitcher. Offense 1 for 12 w RISP.

  16. Section 222 - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    Maybe Ghost can mention it to him, or to one of his other contacts. Or NatsJack can pass the word. Come on guys, use that influence you have for good.

  17. The Fox - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Nice win and great job by Gio when the team needed him to come up big.Also Bernadina is now the reigning web gem champion on ESPN unseating Mike Trout on his 21st birthday, man that kid is OLD!

  18. LoveDaNats - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    The late nights are killing me but I can't look away! So, I'm just usually tired and crabby the next day (Natitude Fatigue). I'm so loving these guys!Got my STH invoice in the mail for playoffs and world series tickets. Expensive beyond ridiculous. However, I haven't lived and died by these guys for 8 years only to miss this incredible, shining moment. Some things are worth the price, some things aren't. I will probably be plunking down my credit card and calling it Christmas.

  19. fast eddie - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Agree with Ghost and Laddie: our hitting needs to pick up or we're headed toward a team slump. We've eked out wins vs. 3 Houston rookies with high ERAs. We get their best guy, Harrell, tonight.Can someone confirm that the heart of our lineup–Zim, Laroche, Morse–are classic streak hitters? They can't all go cold at the same time.

  20. TimDz - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Gio….Not only great on the bump…but stepping up with the bat…Quite Straussian….

  21. Steady Eddie - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Ghost — but in terms of actual performance as opposed to what the ump-"verified by Angel" official stats say, ALR did get an RBI.But yeah, still a fair point.

  22. DL in VA - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Here's a question I have: is Bryce having _fun_? I look at the difference (in my mind) between Bryce and Trout, and I think, Trout's having fun, and Bryce isn't. That's why Trout's on an incredible run, and Bryce has been on a slump ever since the clown question. Time for Bryce to get back to enjoying the game.

  23. Section 222 - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Ok, here's a question for the stat researching experts. Is there any other team in baseball whose three top starting pitchers, or any starting pitchers, or any pitchers for that matter, have at least one home run?

  24. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    DL…. Life is alot more fun when you are hitting .345 as opposed to .252.Especially when you've been used to excelling your whole life. Check video of Trout last year when he struggled mightily and got sent back down and see how much fun he was having then.

  25. waddu eye no - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    TimDz said…"Gio….Not only great on the bump…but stepping up with the bat…Quite Straussian…."Richard or Johann? i'd go with the formerhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyJwbwWg8uc

  26. pdowdy83 - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    I'm concerned about the number of posts on the Nats offense. Some of you seem ready to go off the deep end already. The offense is averaging 4.652 runs per game over the last 8 games (of which the team has won 7). I have a feeling it is tough playing in Houston. They went from playing in a playoff like atmosphere to crickets and playing against a horrible team. They are still averaging 4 a game in the series and have won all 3. Sure it should have been more runs, but it isn't like they are scoring 2 and losing. Lets take a deep breath and enjoy the fact they are on a winning streak, even if it hasn't been pretty.

  27. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    This is sort of cool. If you click on the spreadsheet, Washington,DC is in a virtual tie with Portland, OR.war-across-americahttp://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2012/8/9/3219951/war-across-america

  28. waddu eye no - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    laroche:“I talked to Angel about it right after that at-bat,” first baseman Adam LaRoche said. “I said, ‘What’s going on? From where I’m at, those balls are down.’ He assured me that they were good pitches. He said he would never do that to Bryce, he loves him, he loves the way he plays and that there’s no kind of initiation there. He called it the way he would call it to anybody.”LaRoche said he hoped umpires would be more professional than to single out a 19-year-old rookie, but he admitted the subject had come up.not just a lousy umpire, but a lying weasel.and more;http://deadspin.com/5906057/better-know-an-umpire-angel-hernandezgrr

  29. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Back in the '70s, before the DH was adopted in the AL, I remember an article that said there was a close correlation between the no. of a starting pitcher's hits plus sacrifice hits and his no. of wins. I'm not sure if that holds true for the Nats but by my count Strasburg, Z'mann, Jackson, Gonzalez, Detwiler and Lannan have 53 hits and sac bunts between them. That's awfully good production from the 9th spot in the order.

  30. natsfan1a - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Okay, new Shark vote is up. You know the drill. Vote early and vote often. :-)

  31. rabbit34 - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    I agree with Lady Blah Blah. It should not have come down to the ninth inning. To me, it is mind boggling how we are in first place with such an impotent lineup as ours. No, no, don't give me stats, and I'm talking for me. I have little confidence in this lineup getting timely hitting. That's why it's so suprising to be where they are. Saved by our pitching staff. Maybe put Strasburg at first base and AL behind the plate!

  32. sjm308 - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Of course Rabbit34 is right!I mean they have only played 111 games, won 68, have the best record in the major leagues. why would you have any confidence in that. The sky will be falling any day now and then you can crow that you told us so.Why don't you just enjoy something that has not happened in over 70 years? We are a first place TEAM, not a pitching team, not a fielding team, but a baseball team. It takes lots of different aspects to do what we are doing.If our lineup was impotent (and what a lousy adjective that is since we are averaging over 4 runs a game) we would not be winning. Its as simple as that. We have scored more runs then the other team in 68 out of 111 games. We are in first place – deal with it or go root for the Redskins.

  33. Joe Seamhead - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Interesting fact about a team that "doesn't get timely hitting": The Nats have played more extra innings games then ay other team in MLB. They are 10-6 in those games.

  34. alm - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    SJM – 100% agree

  35. A DC Wonk - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Rabbit: mind boggling? You answered your own question! Nats are doing it with slightly above average hitting (7th in NL in runs per game) and lights out best-in-baseball pitching. That's how they've been doing it all year. Month after month. Nothing mind boggling about it at all. That's how lots of playoff teams do it.

  36. mick - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    question of the day, has nay Nats team ever been 25 over 500… may need Phil Wood for this, lol

  37. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    It's still a naive fanbase in a lot of ways, sjm, and some of them don't know how to enjoy the streak while it's happening, because they don't happen very often. Some, alas, are Phillies Phans In Nats Clothing–PHINCs–and that's just part of the sports culture here, like it or not. I could rant about entitlement and self-importance, but it's not my place to do that.

  38. A DC Wonk - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    (and I meant to add: how is 7th in the league in offense "impotent" ?)

  39. Joe Seamhead - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Also, the Cards are the only ML team with a better runs scored vs. runs allowed ratio.On a sour note, we do lead the Ml in strikeouts.

  40. A DC Wonk - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Mick: I think Nats were 25 over in 1933

  41. JD - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    sjm, You are right of course but what fans do especially on blogs such as this is analyze the last game or so and the fact is that we haven't played well in Houston. It could be that it's the empty stands or it could be that it's the lousy opposition but it is a fact that we have made a bunch of AAA pitchers look like all stars. This does not minimize our over all achievements or predict a colossal collapse; it's just a reasonable observation of 1 series.

  42. MikeinDC - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Just what Gio needed. At times it looked like his last start which was not great but he was forced to dig deeper. And he did. I'd mark this as a statement game. The more expected of Gio, the more he delivers. Tip of the iceburg, greater things to come. Looking forward to his next start.

  43. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Nats winning? You can't explain that!

  44. A DC Wonk - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Or: Expos 34 over when the strike stopped the season in 1994

  45. mick - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Wonk… you right, i was thinking only about the DC teams, 1924, 1933 and 1945, or even before 1924

  46. mick - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Wonk, if Nats go 26 over, is that a new record?

  47. JD - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    What Harper is going through should not have been a shock to anyone who has followed baseball for an extended period of time. This is a 19 year old who by all rights should be figuring things out away from the bright lights of a pennant race and I think that if circumstances were different (no long term injuries to Morse and Werth and no Zim playing hurt) Rizzo would have preferred that Harper played the full year in AAA. This is not catastrophic and by all account Harper is a quick study but it's a process which unfortunately involves failures along the way.

  48. A DC Wonk - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    1933 Nats finished 46 games over .500. But I'm pretty sure that is the most recent (!!) time that a DC team was 25+ over. Best team in DC in 79 years!!

  49. JD - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    What an effort by Gio. If JZimm goes 7 and the offense scores a few runs maybe we can keep Clip, Storen and Stammen out 1 more night.

  50. A DC Wonk - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    JD, you're right. And one of the things that Harper still has to learn (and that he can't get anywhere else) is: how do you break out of a prolonged slump against MLB pitching?Between Harper's talent, his intelligence, and veteran teammates (and Davey), I'm confident he'll get it together at some point.

  51. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Specifically, 99-53.

  52. mick - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Wonk and Zofa… Thank you!

  53. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    A propos of yesterday's discussion about how many different pitches are needed for success, here is an interesting analysis of a starter with, basically, one pitch–a fastball that averages 90.3 MPH which he throws 90.3% of the time…There's another team having a "magical season" (to which we have certainly contributed!).bartolo-colons-streak-without-an-earned-runhttp://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/bartolo-colons-streak-without-an-earned-run/

  54. A DC Wonk - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    As the old saw goes: there are three important aspects to a pitch: speed, location, and movement — and that a pitcher needs just two of those

  55. bobfromalexandria - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    This is getting bad. I'm turning to this blog first thing AT WORK, and then during the day. Hope the boss doesn't find out (wait, I am the boss). Gio was magnificent last night, on the mound and at the plate. But I worry (comes with Nats territory): twice last night we had the bases loaded with nobody out, and didn't score. Forget the bad calls from behind the plate — no bunts? No endless fouling balls off until the right pitch is made (or the batter walks)? The big boys will feast on us if we waste those opportunities.

  56. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Don't Worry. Be Happy.

  57. fast eddie - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    I'm with JD. I love where we are, but these last three games would've been losses against a decent team.Our insurance run in the ninth was unearned, thanks to a throwing error that would've been saved by ALR. All gifts are welcome. It's a magical season.

  58. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    222, since you asked(per B-R.com)Braves: no pitchers have homered.Mets: Jeremy Hefner has one.Marlins: Zambrano has one.Phils: Colbert has one.Reds: Mike Leake has two, Latos has one.Pirates: no pitchers have homered. Andrew McCutchen has all their home runs.Cardinals: No pitchers have homered.Brewers: Greinke has one.Cubs: The Cubs have no pitching. Paul Maholm does have a home run for them, but he's now with ATL.Astros: No pitcher has homered.Giants: Bumgarner and Cain each have one.Dodgers: No pitcher have homered. D'Backs: No pitcher has homered.Padres: No pitcher has homered.Rockies: Drew Pomeranz has one.So, to answer your question, in terms of number of pitchers with home runs, the Nats lead. In number of home runs, they're tied with the Reds, at 3.

  59. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Gio, Not only great on the bump, but stepping up with the bat. Quite Straussian.Waltzing across Texas…

  60. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Zofa–wait, the Rockies have pitching? LOL on your post, esp. McCutch.

  61. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    The Nats are padding that 1 game win differential record. Now 22-17 in those games. Back on August 1st the Nats were 19-17 in 1 run games.In contrast the Braves have only had 25 of those 1 run games and are 16-9. Their closer Kimbrell also hasn't had the same stress of quite as many 1 run saves.Its something to keep an eye on as the Nats desperately need some laugher (blowout) wins. By the way, Nats have only had 11 blowout wins and Atlanta has had 23.

  62. JD - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    One more thing about Gio. On the overthrow by Harper in the 9th Gio backed up Zim and slid across to stop the ball from getting away thus preventing the tying run from scoring.

  63. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Zofa, speaking of Greinke, he was cranky again last night. 5 innings, 4 earned, 5 walks and only 3 K's.

  64. NCNatsie - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Gio pitched great and hit a home run. But he also saved the game by a brilliant backup, on his knees, of 3rd base on Harper's bad throw. And snared a hot shot liner over his head, too.Five-tool guy, that Gio.

  65. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    JD said… One more thing about Gio. On the overthrow by Harper in the 9th Gio backed up Zim and slid across to stop the ball from getting away thus preventing the tying run from scoring. August 09, 2012 10:33 AM Glad you brought that up. Gio laid out to save that ball. It was quite the play. Davey made special mention of "what was he thinking (directed towards Bryce)" and I believe Davey will be sitting Bryce for a mental day tonight.

  66. NCNatsie - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Owe you half a coke, JD

  67. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    JD, yes he did. Gio did everything last night. It was very nice for him to have Suzuki, I read they even used their old signs. When you have total confidence in your catcher you can be at the top of your game–and he was.

  68. JD - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Ghost,'I believe Davey will be sitting Bryce for a mental day tonight.' That's a great idea and he may want to consider taking him out of the no. 2 hole temporarily also.

  69. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    wait, the Rockies have pitching? You've never heard of The Rockies Horror Pitching Show?

  70. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    In other news, Angelos has called up their #1 prospect Manny Machado to play 3rd base. Some think its just a money grab due to sagging attendance. MM is 20 years old.

  71. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    With Gio and Zuke here now, we really need a special color jersey to wear on days Gio pitches. Hey Marketing! Eggs and Bakey!

  72. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    I believe Davey will be sitting Bryce for a mental day tonight.They've had a few hard days' nights, haven't they? No rest for the winning…

  73. JD - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    btw, The single by Francisco which scored the 3rd run should have been an easy out had Bernie read it properly but I guess he gets a pass seing as how he saved the Tuesday game.

  74. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Zection 3, My Zofa said… With Gio and Zuke here now, we really need a special color jersey to wear on days Gio pitches. Hey Marketing! Eggs and Bakey! Gio actually referred to him as Zu (Zoo), not sure the spelling.

  75. sm13 - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Gio is the unsung MVP of this team. He'll be our co-ace in the playoffs and that should make us all feel confident. Rizzo will sew up exec of the year based just on the Go trade.

  76. Doc - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Worst HP umpiring this season. What's even more discouraging was Hernandez thinking that he was calling good pitches.The stadium music guy should have been playing renditions of '3 Blind Mice' all night!In other news, Gio for Cy Young!Someone should send Rabbit34 some carrots and a book by Bill James. Expect the Nats to climb to at least 4th in NL batting stats; they'd be close to that now if Desi was around.GoooooooooooooNats!!!

  77. Section 222 - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Zofa, fantastic research and LOL on McCutcheon. So the Nats are one of 2 teams with 3 pitcher homers, and the only team with 3 different pitchers who have homered. And those pitchers happen to be our Nos. 1, 2, and 3 starters. Take your pick of who is who in the rotation at this point. I think I'll just call them our Nos. 1, 1, and 1. Incredible.NCNatsie makes a fantastic point about Gio's fielding saving the game (after his hitting won it). He simply was not going to be denied last night. I wonder at what point he decided, "I'm pitching my first career complete game tonight." What a moment to do it too. Just when our bullpen was most in need of a night off.

  78. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    JD said… btw,The single by Francisco which scored the 3rd run should have been an easy out had Bernie read it properly but I guess he gets a pass seing as how he saved the Tuesday game. August 09, 2012 10:54 AM He said he broke back off the crack of the bat and then lost sight of it momentarily as he quickly came in on it. Not sure he ever saw it. Lucky it didn't turn into a double as he would have scored off that single to Bryce.

  79. Doc - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Worst HP umpiring this season. What's even more discouraging was Hernandez thinking that he was calling good pitches.The stadium music guy should have been playing renditions of '3 Blind Mice' all night!In other news, Gio for Cy Young!Someone should send Rabbit34 some carrots and a book by Bill James. Expect the Nats to climb to at least 4th in NL batting stats; they'd be close to that now if Desi was around.GoooooooooooooNats!!!

  80. sm13 - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Ghost – that's the enigma that is Bernie. Spectacular plays, followed by misjudged fly balls, ignored stop signs, and amateur throwing mistakes. At his age and with his MLB experience, those rookie mistakes are just not funny or tolerable anymore. I am not sure that the good outweighs the bad.

  81. Section 222 - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    I definitely think the good outweighs the bad with Bernie. Line drives hit right at you are the toughest catches to make and he made a valiant effort after the initial break back. Plus, he kept the ball from getting past him, which would have been disastrous. On the HP umpiring, I agree it was terrible. But the two calls on Bryce in the 6th weren't that far off. I Bryce's reaction, and all of ours as well, were influenced by how terrible the call in the 4th was. I give him alot of credit for not getting tossed right there. Three months ago (prior to the two bat abuse incidents), I'm not sure he would have had the ability to control his rage.

  82. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    sm13–don't forget the time Bernie forgot/misread the squeeze sign… Every time you think he might have figured it out, he reminds you that he hasn't. I thought after he ran through the stop sign that was not a good idea (even if it worked). It sets a bad example for the younger players. Harper–maybe–can run through a stop sign. Lombo, no. You can complain and second-guess Porter after the fact, but you should not override his decisions.

  83. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    222, I agree the good outweighs the bad with Bernadina, but there is a reason he's not an everyday player.

  84. m20832 - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    Great game from NatGio! I just wonder since the Lerner's are really into making this team into a contender if they would have any input into mlb and the the three worst umpires in baseball? Namely Hernandez, West and Diaz. Doesn't anybody think that they could have some influence? Or am I just doing some wishful thinking here?GYFNG!!!!SWEEP!!!!

  85. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    sm13 — You're being unkind to Bernadina. He has his shortcomings. However, viewed as a bench player (fill-in, short-term platooner, PH, defensive replacement — for Morse, Moore, etc.) he's a definite plus. Part of the depth that has allowed the Nats to overcome the epidemic of injuries. Most any team, w/ the possible exception of the Yankees, would be happy to have a Bernadina on their bench. I was not his advocate this Spring but (A) Nady, Ankiel did not work out; (B) there have been fewer brain freezes this year.. Just as Harper, Moore, et al, been helped by Tracy, DeRosa, so has Bernadina. The last two nights have illustrated both his defensive strength and his weakness — he's great on the angles and not so good coming in, going back. Overall, I'm happy he's a Nat.

  86. NCNatsie - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Zofa, you want Gonzuki on your eggs and bakey?

  87. MicheleS - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    This is funny:Andrea Mitchell‏@mitchellreportsHow many more bad calls by this home plate ump before Davey Johnson loses his cool?

  88. A DC Wonk - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    By the way, Nats have only had 11 blowout wins and Atlanta has had 23. Actually — I vaguely recall reading at some stats place that most teams, even championship ones end up close to .500 in one run games (too much luck involved, and it evens out), but that the good teams have a great record in blow-outs.So, if anyone wants to research: not number of wins but — what is the W-L record for the Braves and Nats for blowouts. (And, no, I don't remember what that definition of blow-out is!)

  89. Section 222 - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    I'm thrilled that Bernadina is a bench player, not a starter. That role has suited him quite well this year. His hitting, fielding, and on-field thinking have all improved this year from having a more limited role. He's a real asset for this team, as shown on Tuesday night. I doubt that either Werth or Harper would have made that catch. (For one thing, both are right-handed.)On another note, I have a Groupon for $40 at Duffy's Irish Pub (2106 Vermont Ave., NW) that I need to use up. I would be happy to put it toward a NI table beer tab. I figure I owe lots of you beer or cokes by now. So if anyone is interested in heading there for the game tonight, let me know. I remember Opening Day there being pretty fun; it's definitely a Nats fan friendly bar. Can you believe that was four months and 110 games ago already?

  90. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    I had this exchange with an Astros fan about how hard it's been for the Nats to win this series:—Texas: It’s no particular trick for a AAA team to play close to a MLB team. Baseball is so pitching-dependent and such a game of millimetres that it is no surprise when two teams of very disparate talents play close.But in the end the MLB team will seal the deal. The AAA team won’t.—natslady: True. It just shows how hard it is for fans to shake off the past and face the present fearlessly. Our boys are way ahead of us expecting to win these games.

  91. smurff - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    From Stienberg's article in the Post:"And in truth, the Nats have thus far fared better the wider a game’s margin. The team’s winning percentage in games decided by three or more runs is a major league-best .717, compared with just .421 in two-run games and .553 in one-run games."

  92. JaneB - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    I know what you mean by not being able to look away. I'm going on an "off the grid" trip next week and I honestly don't know how I will be able to NOT open the MLB app.

  93. JD - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    The Nats have outscored their opponents by 85 runs this year; the Braves only by 70. The Braves are extremely lucky that they missed Lee and Halladay in Phily and are missing Dickey in NY. I still love our chances against them head to head based on better starting pitching across the board; it levels out a bit when Stras is shit down but it's still advantage Nats IMO.

  94. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    smurff, good stuff there but all in context like I said above, the Nats are not getting the blowout wins and even when they have had large leads like 9-0 they have turned those into one run games. Also, the Nats are .564 in 1 run games

  95. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Gio actually referred to him as Zu (Zoo), not sure the spelling.Really? Sounded like "Zuke" to me, which is what they've called him in Oakland for some time now.

  96. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    #Braves are 12-3 with a 1.88 ERA since July 24, yet only gained a half-game on #Nats (12-4) in that time

  97. waddu eye no - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Hey natsieNeed An arranger for your song? Send mark z an email and hell send u mine ( or me yours)Maybe i can help

  98. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    222, if I can clear my schedule tonight I would be happy to have you buy the first pitcher.

  99. natsfan1a - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Not to squash any feelings, but Comak has it as "Zuk" in her gamer. :-)Really? Sounded like "Zuke" to me, which is what they've called him in Oakland for some time now.

  100. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    222, sounds fun, but I don't get off work until 9. Maybe for one of the 10 pm games!

  101. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    natslady: True. It just shows how hard it is for fans to shake off the past and face the present fearlessly. Our boys are way ahead of us expecting to win these games.Can we get a macro for that? Maybe a tattoo?

  102. natsfan1a - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    I have a board (bored) meeting tonight, and cat-duty tomorrow, so no can do. That said, would be fun to do again. I couldn't do a 10 PM start, though.222, sounds fun, but I don't get off work until 9. Maybe for one of the 10 pm games!

  103. smurff - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Ghost, I here ya. I too am ready to see the bats start waking up again. Tonight would be a great time to start.

  104. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Not to squash any feelings, but Comak has it as "Zuk" in her gamer. :-)Thanks, 1a, but the Merc has always spelled it "Zuke."

  105. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    222, re pitcher home runs, I gotta think if they played in Cincinnati that Strasburg would have at least one more, and Jackson would have one by now, just based on my rough memory of balls they've hit.

  106. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    And I agree some of you are being too hard on the Shark on that almost-catch in the 9th. It was indeed a line drive right at him, and it was off the end of a broken bat, which makes it harder still to get a good jump. Aphorism of the day (I'm trying to cut down): Perfectionism is the enemy of excellence.

  107. Section 222 - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Zofa, good point on the ballpark adjustment. Of course if we played in Cincy, they'd have given up alot more homers too. I sure hope that $40 will buy more than a pitcher! See you there.

  108. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    222, thanks, it should be good for a couple. Stay tuned, though, as I do have some re-arranging to confirm. Damn job keeps interfering with my baseball, I might have to drop it.

  109. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    222, Duffy's is featuring the Packers-Chargers game tonight, so if it fills the bar (it might), the dart room should be available. Probably.

  110. Joe Seamhead - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    My feelings on Roger Bernadina: As a starter he's good enough to lose with. As a bench player he's good enough to win with.

  111. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Zofa, really? No RGIII?

  112. sjm308 - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Bernadina is the perfect #4 outfielder – plays all 3 positions, perfect for late innings or an occasional start and I could see him in this role for a couple of years. I don't know him or have any contacts but he seems happy to be playing and that is the key with most bench guys. If they feel like they should be starting, they start to pout. I have never seen that with him.Those that are worrying, that is certainly an option and one I could never talk anyone out of. Its just so much fun to enjoy this rather then worry. Those who say the "Big Boys" would beat us have no clue. What makes baseball a great game is that we can play a 4-3 game vs. the Astros and then score 12 against the Reds or someone like that. The Astro's beat the Braves once in a 3 game series. Does that mean the Braves are doomed. You can't say that one team would win and another lose when they are not on the same field. You can only play that team you are scheduled to play and all you need to do is score one more run then they do. This drove me crazy as a coach. Its just a rationalization by losers to say that you would have won a certain game or that someone else would have done better on a certain day. You don't know that. All you know is we have won 5 in a row and have another of our studs on the mound tonight.Go Nats!!

  113. sjm308 - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    222 – sorry but tonight is not good for meGive me a days notice and I can probably make it. I am still upset about missing the last NI gala.Thanks so much for the offer.Go Nats!!

  114. natsfan1a - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  115. natsfan1a - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Speaking of the NI gala, which I also missed, looking forward to the possibility of a Virginia gala. :-)

  116. natsfan1a - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    I was mainly trying to go for the vegetable joke there, but I got ahead of myself. Should have quoted the "Zoo" comment. :-)Zection 3, My Zofa said…Not to squash any feelings, but Comak has it as "Zuk" in her gamer. :-)Thanks, 1a, but the Merc has always spelled it "Zuke."August 09, 2012 12:41 PM

  117. alm - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    SJM regarding rationalizations, my son the ill-informed Deadskins fan truely believes that last years skins team was a better team than the World Chanpion G-Men…because the skins beat the Giants 2 times during the regular season.We don't play these games on paper and the Nats are finding ways to win.Go Nats!

  118. peric - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    This has been a very tough series … 2 extra inning games … I sure hope they have something left for Arizona and the Giants. The Braves are hanging in right on their tail.

  119. Section 222 - Aug 9, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Good to know Zofa. Featuring football in August? Really? I guess it's too much to hope for that the clintele will prefer the Nats game over an exhibition btw two football teams neither of which is the Redskins. But I'll call over there a little later and make sure there will be some place to watch the local team that's in a pennant race.

  120. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    I was mainly trying to go for the vegetable joke there, but I got ahead of myself. Should have quoted the "Zoo" comment. :-)I don't usually miss those. I hope you'll lettuce off the hook.

  121. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 9, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    222, I did inquire on F/B. Haven't heard yet, but I assume the dart room should be available if there are more than a couple of folks there for the Nats. Football crowds can get loud, though, and I believe that game starts earlier.

  122. Scooter - Aug 9, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    To whoever's keeping score, I don't get the vegetable joke either. But I wasn't the first not to get it, and I only didn't get it today, not four days ago. So I'm not sure whether that counts.

  123. The Fox - Aug 9, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    If you want to see something funny with Gio and Suzuki here's a commercial they did together with the A's.Suzuki wears a puka shell necklace under his jersey every game. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIlEd0bSV5UThe fans in Oakland chant and call him Zook or Zuke I've seen it spelled both ways. He also say aloha a lot because he was born in Hawaii. SFNatsFan can probably say more about this than I can.

  124. Manassas Nats' Fan - Aug 9, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    OJ for those who have not voted yet here is the link for the shark votehttp://espn.go.com/mlb/baseballtonightRemember all those votes in Arizona yesterday? 3 today. Strange.Right now 80% byt less then 400 votes.As I said last night there has to be 72 good men or eomen to ump in the majors out of 175 million working adults in America. WHy don't people like Hernandez and West and Daiz get DFA's Why because MLB doesn't care they like the controversal umps I think.

  125. natsfan1a - Aug 9, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    But were there any naysayers involved? I had zucchini for lunch, so it was fresh in my mind, so to speak.Scooter said… To whoever's keeping score, I don't get the vegetable joke either. But I wasn't the first not to get it, and I only didn't get it today, not four days ago. So I'm not sure whether that counts. August 09, 2012 2:27 PM

  126. natsfan1a - Aug 9, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    Thanks, Manassas. I believe he was born on Maui. Perhaps one of these days he'll club a Maui Wowie for us. :-)

  127. natsfan1a - Aug 9, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    Well, if you can't beet 'em, join 'em. (Not to make things mushroom out of control or anything.)I don't usually miss those. I hope you'll lettuce off the hook.

  128. Scooter - Aug 9, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Ohhhhhhh, zucchini!Serious eggplant on my face. I guess the Scooter haters were right.

  129. natsfan1a - Aug 9, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    Nah, they were wrong. But they were the first Scooter haters. So there's that.

  130. Gabor Mehes - Aug 9, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    The McCatty-Flores era is over, Suzuki calls for over 80% fastballs.

  131. Gabor Mehes - Aug 9, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    The McCatty-Flores era is over, Suzuki calls for over 80% fastballs.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 63 -- 0
ATLANTA 75 76 12.5
MIAMI 73 77 14.0
NEW YORK 73 79 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 81 18.0
Through Tuesday's early games
x-Clinched division title
UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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